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Sensitive Teeth: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment? How is the treatment done? Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?) Who is not eligible for the treatment? Are there any side effects? What are the post-treatment guidelines? How long does it take to recover? What is the price of the treatment in India? Are the results of the treatment permanent? What are the alternatives to the treatment?

What is the treatment?

Also called sensitive dentin, dentin sensitivity, dentin hypersensitivity, cervical sensitivity, cervical hypersensitivity.

How is the treatment done?

Sensitive teeth, also called dentin hypersensitivity is a very common dental condition where a sharp but short duration pain occurs in the dental region inside the teeth and gums in response to certain stimuli but not caused due to any other disease. The stimuli can be thermal, mechanical or tactile, electrical, osmotic, or due to chemicals or evaporation.

The root cause of dental hypersensitivity is exposure of the dentine layer of the teeth that lies just underneath the outer enamel coating. The dentine layer may be exposed due to receding gums, or due to the erosion of the enamel. Dentine contains millions of microscopic tubules fanning outward from the pulp. These dentinal tubules are filled with a fluid. Once exposed, the external stimuli cause changes in the flow of this fluid, and this triggers the sudden sharp pain response from the mechanoreceptors from the nerves in the pulp. Some level of sensitivity is noted even in healthy teeth, but the response is much sharper and more intense in case of hypersensitivity.

A great number of treatment options are available to treat and manage dental hypersensitivity. Even without treatment hypersensitivity response is slowly managed and muted by the body by laying down tertiary drains and thickening the dentine, but these processes take a very long time, and the condition might turn more severe if the pulp becomes involved and inflamed.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

A multitude of treatment options are available for dental hypersensitivity. The most easily available are desensitizing toothpastes that are available over the counter at any pharmacy. These toothpastes help to block pain by forming a layer over the exposed ends of the dentinal microtubules. Fluoride is also used to strengthen the enamel so that it resists decay. The exposed dentin surface may also be sealed in a process similar to dental filling for cavities. Lost gum tissues may need to be replaced by taking up tissues from elsewhere in the mouth. In case other treatments are ineffective, a root canal procedure is performed, which involves a surgical removal of pulp with all its nerve endings. The procedure is usually applied to treat severe hypersensitivity problems arising from other more severe causes like inflammation of the dental pulp. Treatments may need to be combined with teeth crowns to protect them from further damage.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Dental hypersensitivity is characterized by sharp sudden pains in the teeth in response to various stimuli. Commonest of these stimuli is temperature, where the pain is triggered by cold or hot liquids coming in contact with the affected teeth. Even cold air can cause a dental hypersensitivity in some of the more severe cases. Brushing teeth may cause the pain. Sugar solutions like fruit juices, soft drinks, etc. can cause the pain to occur. Solid or liquid edibles with acidic pH coming in contact with the affected teeth can cause pain. Dental hypersensitivity may occur due to some other dental diseases, in which case the underlying cause needs to be addressed. If no other diseases are seen to be the cause of hypersensitivity, the patient is eligible for hypersensitivity treatment.

Are there any side effects?

Some dental diseases like pulp inflammation may be the cause of hypersensitivity. In this case, treatments like sealing of dentine is not advised as the pulp may turn necrotic and the damage may spread to other parts of the mouth and gums.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Some side effects are associated with treatments for sensitive teeth. For example, fluoride treatment can cause fluoride poisoning if used non-judiciously. Dental crowns placed to protect the enamel from decay may further aggravate the problem of increasing dentinal hypersensitivity.

How long does it take to recover?

Post treatment guidelines for teeth hypersensitivity include simple habits to keep the teeth and gums clean and healthy to prevent their further decay. These include regular brushing and flossing at least twice a day, rinsing out the mouth properly after every meal, having some water after having some acidic food, wearing mouth guards if grinding teeth is a regular problem, etc.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Some of the treatment options manage the condition by preventing further enamel decay and reducing dental sensitivity, and these treatments are regular treatments. Root canal surgery is performed in severe cases, and it takes about three to four weeks to recover.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Treatment costs for dental hypersensitivity vary widely from Rs. 50 going up to Rs. 10,000 or higher for surgical procedures and follow ups.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Some treatments are regular and ongoing. Results of most treatments are long lasting if proper care is taken and further decay does not occur. Results of root canal surgery are permanent since the entire pulp with nerves is removed.

Popular Questions & Answers

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Advanced Aesthetics, BDS
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My mother is 55 years old. She has problem in oral cavity. Her inner cheek on both sides have been greyish for last year. And she feel irritation only while consume spicy food. Her one jaw was slightly loose at starting before this condition happened, she tried to remove the jaw herself as she thought it has been old, but didn't get success. She visit a dentist regarding loose teeth. Doctor prescribed some medicine and oral wash after scaling the teeth and the problem vanishes but this new problem started which is greyish cheek in early time only in right side but now it is also in left side. It does not cause any problem except irritation towards spicy food. But I want to know -how to get rid of pigmented inner cheek and the irritation that cause only when consume spicy food. Please advise best to get relief from this situation. It is happening from last 10 months. I consulted many doctors and got various response like some doctor said leukoplakia, some said candidiasis, some said oral lichen planus some said fibrosis some said gastrointestinal problem but my mother has no any previous record of any disease. No any constipation or indigestion problem. No b.p no diabetes .i don't know what to do? Thank you.

BASM, MD, MS (Counseling & Psychotherapy), MSc - Psychology, Certificate in Clinical psychology of children and Young People, Certificate in Psychological First Aid, Certificate in Positive Psychology, Positive Psychiatry and Mental Health
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Dear user. I can understand. Please don't be panic but be serious about the symptoms. Consult your dentist for physical investigation. Please provide more information so that we can start the diagnosis process and the treatment. I am here to help ...

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Hi Sir, Visit a dentist every six months for cleaning and a thorough dental check-up. Limit sugary food to avoid tooth decay. Gargle your mouth thoroughly after every meal. Scrub gently to clean your tongue with a tongue cleaner. Floss all your te...
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